EC holds Himanta guilty of violating poll code, Assam CM says will abide by panel’s directions


Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Election Commission served a notice on Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for violating the model code of conduct and he said he would abide by the EC’s directions.

Assam Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah and Congress Legislature Party leader Debabrata Saikia had lodged separate complaints, backed by video evidence and newspaper clippings, with the EC alleging that Sarma had violated the poll code.

In the notice to the CM, the EC said it was confirmed that he had made promises and announcements during his bypoll campaign speeches at various places.

“Debabrata Saikia and Bhupen Kumar Borah alleged that you, in the capacity of the Chief Minister and the designated star campaigner for BJP, have made several announcements at various election meetings…for establishing the medical college, bridges, roads, high schools, stadium, sports complex etc and also made announcements for giving financial assistance to self-help groups of tea garden workers and for development projects in the constituencies,” the notice reads.

“By making the statements, you have violated the model code of conduct. The Commission gives you an opportunity to explain your position in this regard on or before 1700 hours of Tuesday. If no explanation is received within the time limit, the Commission shall take a decision without any further reference to you,” the notice further reads.

Sarma criticised the Congress for moving the Commission. He said the party stood opposed to the government working for the welfare of the people.

“They (Congress) raised objections to announcements on welfare schemes and the construction of a medical college. People will get the benefits of the schemes which have been already announced in the budget. I will abide by the EC’s directions,” the CM said.

The Congress hailed the EC for taking cognisance of his violations of the model code of conduct.

“The most important fact that the Election Commission should take note of is that Sarma is the constitutional head of the state and he is supposed to respect the model code of conduct. But instead, it is seen how brazenly he is violating the rules without consideration, giving the impression that those in power are not accountable to anybody. This reflects a complete lack of respect for institutions and rules,” the Congress said.

It demanded that the EC bar Sarma from campaigning based on the audio-visual evidence. The party said this would set a precedent that the poll rules needed to be followed and not disregarded by those in power.

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